An eventful weekend in the Middle East

Information about what is happening in the Middle East always arrives in a fragmented way and it is very difficult to follow the thread and relate one thing to another. The general feeling is that there is always something going on over there. And yes, things do happen. Here we try to bring together some of the events of the weekend.

Palestinian officials warned Israel of a new escalation of violence in the Middle East if violent assaults on the Al Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem continue.

Presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina expressed the steadfastness of the Palestinian people in pursuing their territorial claims “whatever the cost”, quoted by Prensa Latina.

The mosque is the site of Israeli military operations to allow Jewish settlers to use the courtyards and esplanades of the “Noble Sanctuary”, which they call the “Temple Mount”.

“At 5 a.m. local time on Sunday, April 9, the Israeli enemy carried out an aggression with missiles fired from the direction of the occupied Syrian Golan against positions in the southern region of Syria,” Syrian military sources told the San’a Agency. This attack comes on top of the constant bombardment of the Levantine country.

In many cases the anti-missile defences manage to intercept the attacks, which even reach the capital Damascus, where last Tuesday two civilians were killed by bombs.

A number of missile attacks have also taken place in southern Lebanon, and the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) is investigating the perpetrators of the attacks.

Although it has not yet been confirmed that the missiles were launched by Hamas, Israeli air forces bombed the Tyre region of southern Lebanon on Friday.

This prompted the Lebanese government to condemn the bombing and said it would file a complaint with the UN Security Council. Israel beat Israel to the punch and asked the same Council to condemn Lebanon and Hamas for the recent attack.

This jigsaw of missiles, threats and condemnations that came and went had one achievement: preventing the announced truce between Hamas militants and the Israeli government from being declared.

It is not all bad news in the Middle East. A Saudi delegation arrived in the Yemeni capital Sana’a for talks on a possible ceasefire with the Iranian-backed Houthi militia, the Houthi television channel Al-Masirah reported Sunday.

The Saudi delegation was joined by Omani officials who will mediate the dialogue. On the Yemeni side, the presence of Mahdi al-Mashat, chairman of the Houthi political council, was confirmed.

The Xinhua news agency confirmed that Saudi ambassador Muhammad Al Jaber is leading the delegation that has arrived in the Yemeni capital. These rapprochements take place after China intervened to bring closer the positions between Iran and Saudi Arabia, who had broken diplomatic relations.

In turn, a Chinese ship arrived today in the Syrian port city of Latakia with 228 prefabricated houses that are part of the humanitarian aid sent to those affected by the earthquake that hit the country on 6 February.

The houses will be installed by Syrian Red Crescent volunteers, adding to the 1,000-home project being undertaken by the United Arab Emirates Red Crescent and the Iraqi Relief Agency, which is building another 500 homes in the town of Yebrin in the northern province of Aleppo.

Due to the seismic effects, more than 60,000 homes need to be rehabilitated and more than 4,000 were rendered unusable.

Mariano Quiroga